From snacks to sides to full-blown meals, frozen foods answer the consumer call for convenience. But that doesn’t mean frozen foods don’t need to taste good. Successful new products are easy to heat-and-eat, and reflect current trends in flavor, format as well as consumer demand for healthier choices.
Consumer demand for natural and organic products are driving growth in the frozen food sector after several years of challenges and declining sales. Sales of the collective frozen food categories dinners/entrées, pizzas, side dishes, and appetizers/snacks will reach $23 billion in 2019, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.
According to the “Frozen Foods in the U.S.: Hot Meals, Sides, and Snacks" report from Packaged Facts, consumers are slowly warming up again to frozen foods due to both the convenience of the products and the recent introduction of more natural and organic frozen offerings that are lending the segment a much needed health halo. Consumer concerns about preservatives and other ingredients are alleviated by the notion that if the products are natural or organic, they must be fresher or, at least, healthier.
“Frozen foods of all kinds have been challenged in recent years as a result of the convergence of several trends, especially, but not exclusively, a growing demand for fresh products or, at least, fresher products in refrigerated rather than frozen form. Nevertheless, frozen food products still have much to offer," said Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. “For instance, frozen products identified as natural or organic are having a more positive experience than frozen foods in general. These organic and natural frozen foods appeal to the consumer who is both cost conscious and health conscious."
In addition to the continued emergence of natural/organic frozen foods, increased sales of in frozen dinner/entrées, pizzas, side dishes, and snacks in the upcoming 5-year period will be based on the ability of major marketers to adjust to the changing consumer environment that calls for more variety (in terms of flavors and serving styles), healthier foods, and better pricing. Also a factor will be increased growth among smaller brands like Annie’s (now under General Mills), which should gain more customers for their natural and organic frozen dinners and entrées.
With “fresh" and “healthy" emerging as food industry buzz words, it’s easy to wonder if frozen foodswhich almost inherently fail conjure connotations associated with either fresh or healthy productsstill appeal to the majority of American consumers.
Check out the image gallery “Frozen Food Finalists for 2014 SupplySide Editor's Choice Award" to see some of the coolest new launches from last year.